I am always a little nervous when someone buys a book for me for two major reasons. One, because I read so extensively, I may have already read it and just not mentioned it to that person. The second reason is that I am afraid they will not pick a good book for me. For the most part, I am not fussy with my reading choices, though there are a few major things that I need in a book. However, that is a whole other story altogether.
I did not need to worry with this pick. Dad bought The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley for me last Christmas. I will admit that I had not heard of Lucinda Riley before he emailed me asking about another one of her books as a potential gift for my Nuna. Smooth work there.
The Girl on the Cliff opens with Grania Ryan returning to her native Ireland from New York, where she just suffered a terrible heartbreak. There, she meets a young girl, Aurora, on the cliffs near her parents’ house. Her life, Aurora’s life…no one’s life will ever be the same again. Her mother informs her that Aurora’s family and theirs have been intertwined for years.
As I read this novel, I felt it getting better and better, even by the page. However, there were some moments that I felt wary about, such as part of the mystery surrounding why Grania returned home. It seemed to me that I had a little bit of a hint of what was underneath the surface, and though I could make concessions given the other circumstances…something just felt odd to me.
I did get nervous at other points, such as the various “flashbacks” throughout the novel, especially considering we visited two periods in the past, and then one in the future. Nevertheless, as I took in the whole novel, I found that I never really felt overwhelmed or confused by the time switches and storytelling. Everything made sense to me, even if it took a few pages or a chapter to come together. In my opinion, many authors use flashbacks too frequently and it makes their work hard to follow. That also goes for point-of-view changes, although that did not really feature in this book (sort of).
Lucinda Riley does a great job with conveying the emotion of her characters and the true pull that all of them are feeling during the tense and heart-wrenching moments of the book. While there is some description, there is not as much as many of the novels I have read. However, given the genre of this novel, I think that the way Lucinda approached description, in not only amount but also method and style, worked for this book.
There was one element in particular that was quite intriguing to me: the brief “flashes” to the future. I do not want to describe them too much for fear of revealing a lot of the novel, but think of a narrator recounting the story after it has already taken place. Given the intrigue I felt with this element, I fell into my old habit of trying to guess the ending. I normally do this with mystery novels, so it came as a little surprise that I found myself doing it with The Girl on the Cliff, as mystery is not the main genre I would assign it.
My main worry whenever I find myself trying to guess the end, as I have mentioned in my blog before, is that I actually figure out the ending before reading it. While I do find I am disappointed when that happens, it shows me that the writing was not as good as I would have wanted it to be. So how did The Girl on the Cliff turn out with regard to my intrigue? I never saw that ending coming, not by a mile.
I would highly recommend reading The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley. That is all there is to it. Feel free to ask questions in the comments!
Title: The Girl on the Cliff
Author: Lucinda Riley
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House Canada)